Telstra pre paid 3g dongle, any good ?

Submitted: Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 09:45
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Just wondering if anyone has used one of these $24.50 pre paid usb dongle .
What sort of reception do you get in the country ?
thanks
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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 09:54

Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 09:54
Hi Wicket, I use the $79 Elite model and it is effective.

Mind you, any of them is only as good as the received signal and I chose the Elite as it has a connection for an external antenna..... few of them do. The external antenna more than doubles the reception range.

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Allan

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Follow Up By: TerraFirma - Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 10:34

Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 10:34
Second what Allan says. Antenna capability and option is everything.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 10:55

Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 10:55
Of course, you have to purchase and install a Next G antenna.

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Follow Up By: Member - Mike (SA) - Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 14:04

Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 14:04
For better reception we hoist the USB stick on the end of a 5 metre USB extension cable - better than aerieal IMHO - rarely lets us down in poor reception areas.

regards

Mike
Too little time in the bush!
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Follow Up By: Member - wicket - Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 14:39

Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 14:39
For better reception we hoist the USB stick on the end of a 5 metre USB extension cable - better than aerieal IMHO - rarely lets us down in poor reception areas.

Mike
Now that is a clever idea, as I already have the cable this might be the best approach.

cheers
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 14:48

Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 14:48
Well Mike, that certainly is an innovative idea but you are still dependent on the modem's internal antenna. That may be sufficient for your needs. However, the use of an appropriate external antenna of maybe 6db gain will provide very increased performance over the internal antenna no matter where it is positioned.

"Antennas 'aint just antennas" after all. LOL

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Follow Up By: TerraFirma - Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 15:03

Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 15:03
Still can't beat a quality external antenna no matter how high you hoist the USB stick. LOL . Love the idea though.
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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 19:59

Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 19:59
Mike (SA)
You have hit on to a great idea.
Where reception is concerned height is might but if you extend your aerial lead you introduce losses.
By extending the USB connection you achieve the height without the losses.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 20:01

Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 20:01
A "Mast-head Amplifier" no less! LOl

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Reply By: Member - Phil 'n Jill (WA) - Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 10:06

Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 10:06
We have a Telstra 'Turbo' which has been fairly effective - even at the odd 24 hour Rest Area in the Pilbara.

I just checked - and it too has provision for an external aerial, but haven't used one on it yet.

The challenge is finding the best 'plan' to suit your needs.

Cheers - Phil
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Follow Up By: disco driver - Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 10:51

Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 10:51
I go for the "Turbo" too.
I've found that as long as I've got a mobile signal, the more bars the better of course, the dongle works well enough.

I only use the dongle when travelling, just buy a new $2 simcard each time and then charge it with enough time and up/download capacity to last the trip with a little bit over.
A $40 recharge usually lasts us a month on the road before it expires.
You can if necessary recharge it again of course.

Disco.
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Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 12:01

Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 12:01
Also use the telstra turbo - initially had no external aerial which worked fine - constant signal from Perth to Kalgoorlie which allowed real time tracking using Google Earth.

Then bought a small magnetic 3G areial from JAYCAR (cost about $30.00) which worked really well. When I upgraded the car kit for the phone the package included a new aerial so I hooked the Turbo up to the old one.

Apart from the LC looking like an echidna has made love to it - the range is as good as the car phone kit.

I opt to prepay $150 for 10gig (or is it 12gig) download which lasts for 365 days. Yeah, I have never used all the download - BUT while my travel buddies struggle to get recharges in the iddle of no where, I have never run out.

Cheers

Anthony
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 13:29

Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 13:29
We've had a Turbo for a number of years too. Pretty handy when away from home, with reasonable reception. Picked it too, because of the external aerial jack, which we haven't used yet.

Only problem we've had has been we do too little travelling, and when the Bride needs it, it's "out of hours" and needs a recharge.

The amount of money we're spending on communications now, should probably do as Anthony has, and get a 12 months supply. Some of the aerials shown on Telco website would give excellent coverage.

Bob.

Seen it all, Done it all.
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Reply By: Mikee5 - Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 12:56

Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 12:56
I have the Telstra Elite for $99. It is charged via any USB power supply but it is not necessary to keep it plugged into the laptop as the charge lasts for hours. I think the dongle type may be vulnerable to damage. The Elite can have up to 3 computers connected wirelessly. I do have an external antenna but find it is not usually needed. Coverage is the same as the telstra mobile network which is fairly widespread. I hate promoting Telstra but no other carrier matches them outside the major centres.
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Follow Up By: Member - Wamuranman - Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 13:32

Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 13:32
Hi Mikee5,
Well we will have to agree to disagree on this one. I love promoting Telstra. Its a great iconic Australian company...clearly the best in its field. Since they got rid of the American management team its gone from strength to strength.
Here is article from the financial news a few days ago:

Thodey has rivals reeling in his wake

Date: August 29, 2012
Malcolm Maiden

'David Thodey has secured... about $400 million for the assault.'
TELSTRA chief executive David Thodey won his board's backing to launch an attack on his competitors three weeks ago, and yesterday he launched a missile. His chief operations officer, Brendon Riley, announced that the telco would be deploying special funding to accelerate the rollout of its new ultra-fast 4G wireless coverage from 40 per cent of the population to about 66 per cent over the next 10 months.

Coverage in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth will more than double. In Melbourne, for example, Telstra has already rolled 4G out as far east as Hawthorn East and Camberwell, fairly densely populated suburbs about nine kilometres from the central business district.

Coverage will now be extended as far east as Ringwood, 23 kilometres out. Middle western suburbs of Melbourne will be added to create a footprint on that side of the CBD that stretches unbroken to Werribee, and coverage in the north will extend 22 kilometres out to Epping, embracing a fast-growing part of the city.

In Sydney the initial 4G rollout ringed the harbour, and covered the eastern suburbs, suburbs as far south as Botany

and Banksia, and others as far north as Chatswood. The new footprint will extend as far as 29 kilometres west to Greystanes, west of Parramatta, as far as Hornsby in the north, and as far as Kogarah in the south.

More than 1000 new 4G base stations will be installed to underpin the expansion, and by the time it has done that work Telstra will have a huge lead on a mobile platform that is destined to dominate the mobile telco market.

Thodey has secured a special capital expenditure budget of about $400 million for the assault, which is occurring before its competitors have launched competing 4G services. Optus and Vodafone are still at the trial stage.

How Telstra got to this position is something for its competitors to analyse, but they appear to have misread what Telstra was doing last year, when it trialled a 4G service on 1800 megahertz spectrum in the first half, and then, in September, launched it in capital city central business districts and 30 regional and metropolitan centres.

Vodafone was focused on fixing coverage problems with its own 3G network at the time. Optus appears to have regarded the 1800 spectrum launch as a preview of the real battle, which would begin when 700 MHz spectrum was freed up by the shutdown of analog TV.

Optus was right - to a point. The 700 MHz spectrum is going to be needed to fully convert the Australian market to 4G. It will be auctioned off by the federal government next April, but won't be available until after analog broadcasting ends at the end of 2013, and might go live as late as 2015.

By launching early on spectrum that became available as its old 2G mobile service wound down, Telstra has secured first-mover advantage. It has sold more than 340,000 4G mobile devices including 160,000 4G smartphones since it launched the service a year ago, and by June next year will have built 2000 1800 MHz base stations that can be adapted to offer 700 MHz when the spectrum is available. The group is aggressively advertising its 4G offer at a time when it has the market to itself.

The new 4G service isn't going to be a replacement for the land-based national broadband network. Like all shared mobile networks, it will become congested if enough users crowd on, and it will not download data-hungry services such as large screen video as quickly as land-based fibre. The rule that mobile is best suited to devices that can be carried in the hand will still apply in a 4G world.

The new service is, however, significantly faster than 3G, and in voice communications, it is crystal clear. Telstra is achieving 14 per cent traffic growth a month in 4G, and is now going to double its coverage in its key urban markets. It has a lead it may never relinquish.




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Follow Up By: PeterInSa - Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 14:19

Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 14:19
We bought the Telstra 4G Modem hopefully to future proof our reception, are no where near a 4G loaction when at home.

This unit for $1xx comes with 5Gb of data for the first month and for some reason you can connect 2 external aerials, persuaded by a friend who is a Comms Techo to get this rather than the $99 unit.

Peter
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Follow Up By: Member - Wamuranman - Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 17:17

Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 17:17
Peter,

I think the 2 aerials are for 3G and 4G

Cheers
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Reply By: Andrew - Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 14:49

Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 14:49
Don't use it regularly but it works well , However I have to keep replacing the simcard as they expire if not used often enough. This is a pain as I got it as a backup and I keep forgetting and invariably need a new one on weekends.

regards

A

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Reply By: SDG - Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 16:43

Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 16:43
What is one actually paying for with these dongles?
Are you paying for an actual internet service like one you would get from a service at home, or is it paying for a connection to your current service provider?

Already paying for a connection at home, would be handy if you could just get a dongle that just links to your existing account.
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Follow Up By: Member - wicket - Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 16:54

Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 16:54
All the dongles in my link at the top are pre paid. It is distinct from any other internet service. Most people use them for the period they are on the road.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 17:09

Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 17:09
SDG, The only way to connect directly to your existing service Provider is via the connection and account already established, whether that be ADSL, Satellite, Optic Fibre or whatever.

These "dongles" (actually modems) allow a new connection and account via the Next G network but cannot link directly to your existing Provider account. You can however use them and their associated account to gain access to your existing email account.

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Kris and Kev - Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 18:49

Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 18:49
We also have a Telstra 3G dongle, an Ultimate I think, with an external antenna and patch leads for the dongle and our mobile phone. The dongle was free on a 24 month plan that costs us $19.95 a month that gives us 1 gig, then it shapes to dial up speed, but if we reach the 1 gig we then use our phone as a modem and have another 1 gig on the phone’s plan. When travelling 2 gigs is heaps for us.
Kevin
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Follow Up By: Member - Ian G (NSW) - Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 21:38

Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 21:38
I have run with a Teltra Turbo stick for a few years now and it has never cost me more than $150 per annum. I can get service all over the country [obviously not in some remote places though]. Sometimes I get coverage with the stick where I can't get phone service. I can patch it in to the car antenna by unhooking the phone car kit and connecting the patch lead. I also have an antenna mounted on the wineguard tv aerial, so that when you wind up the tv antenna, the Next G antenna also goes up way above the van [I use this for my mobile and my laptop]. I would estimate that the top of the antenna is about 4 metres from the ground so gives great coverage. When we had a camper trailer, I just had a mobile antenna which I would sit on the canvas roof, and patched in to it. At the moment I don't have a land line or modem, so use this Turbo Stick 100% of the time. I must admit I only do small downloads though and use it mainly for emailing and browsing the web. It is getting a bit loose & wobbly in the usb slot in my laptop so I am getting a bit anxious about its life now and hoping that they are still available if I have to replace it. The best way to go in my opinion is the 12 month deal and just put more credit on before the expiry then you won't have to replace sim ever. Mine is set up with my credit card details so it is easy to recharge. If I know I am heading to a remote area, I make sure I have good credit so that it doesn't expire if we are out of range for a while.

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Reply By: Member - Chris & Debbie (QLD) - Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 18:57

Friday, Aug 31, 2012 at 18:57
Depending on what mobile phone you have, you may be able to use it as a mobile hotspot. Most new phones have this capability and saves you having to purchase a dongle, plans etc. just purchase data packs as required.

Chris
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Follow Up By: Pebble - Saturday, Sep 01, 2012 at 10:17

Saturday, Sep 01, 2012 at 10:17
Exactly this. I purchased a smartphone on prepaid (some 8 months ago) Motorola Defy + and my current $30 recharge on the Cap Encore includes 400MB data.
NextG reception at home isn't great though so haven't tried it out with one of the laptops yet, if we were on the road I would think about using the phone as a hotspot instead of buying a separate dongle and sim just for internet. If you have a partner who also has a smartphone with a data component then that certainly makes sense!

I was reading this threadl as I'm thinking about how to best cover our household internet needs as the kids get older. Satellite broadband is pretty pathetic value for money, and we can't apply for the NBN satellite plans until we've had sat broadband for 3yrs (which is in Jan next year) which I find strange. And even when we can it only means an increase in speed, you still pay through the nose if you want more than say 4GB / month.

I noticed mobile broadband as part of the NBN or something on my service providers site (Skymesh) which sounds interesting and looks much better value for money, I sent a query to them but no answer as yet!

I like the dognle on a long usb lead idea! Actually I recently thought about the fact that if we mounted a wireless capable nextG modem outside the house we could probably have next G internet here rather than sattelite, but probably not much point as both are similar in cost and no doubt 3g would be slower due to poor signal.
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Reply By: Holden4th - Sunday, Sep 02, 2012 at 07:56

Sunday, Sep 02, 2012 at 07:56
QUOTE: "Hi Mikee5,
Well we will have to agree to disagree on this one. I love promoting Telstra. Its a great iconic Australian company...clearly the best in its field. Since they got rid of the American management team its gone from strength to strength."

And I have to disagree again. On my trip across the Nullarbor with a blue tick handset I lost coverage on my blue tick handset after Eucla and didn't get it back until Norseman 600+ kms away. This is on our major touring route, the A1 and if you travel up the west coast along the A1 it is even worse. Surely Telstra should look at fixing this first considering the amount of traffic that travels over these roads.

I'm with Telstra because I have no choice. They are the only service providers in so many places.
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Reply By: Member - wicket - Monday, Sep 03, 2012 at 09:13

Monday, Sep 03, 2012 at 09:13
thanks to all those who replied
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